Color-composite image of FSR 1735. The cluster is the circular regions of stars and enhanced brightness in the center of the image. North is up and East is to the left. CREDIT: Henri Boffin, ESO
June 26, 2012 (Space.com) -- Astronomers are mapping more than 40 million stars in the sky, recording the brightness and location of many faint stars that will be catalogued accurately for the first time, researchers say.
The stars are being charted as part of the American Association of Variable Star Observers Photometric All-Sky Survey (APASS), which is scanning the sky at a level 100 times fainter than any previous star-mapping expedition.
"Prior surveys have done a good job measuring the brightness of bright stars," Arne Henden, director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), said in a statement. "Other organizations have announced plans to measure faint stars. But this goldilocks zone of stars that are neither too bright or too faint has been neglected, until now."
In some cases, the luminosity and locations of millions of these stars are being precisely noted for the first time, the astronomers said.
"This catalog of stars will serve a key link between existing bright catalogs and fainter catalogs planned for the future, such as those created by Pan-STARRS and the LSST observatories," said Doug Welch, a professor of physics and astronomy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada. [Stunning Photos of Our Milky Way Galaxy]